Former teacher and footballer for the Ports

Joe Huddlestone.
Joe Huddlestone.

FORMER Markethill High School teacher and sportsman Lew Huddleston has died suddenly at his home in Donacloney.

Mr Huddleston, who was 68, played football for Portadown during the Gibby Mackenzie management era and had a season at Linfield. He gained a number of hockey ‘caps’ at Ulster Provincial Schools level and enjoyed the game of golf, which he often played with his brother Ronnie (deceased) who was captain of Tandragee Golf Club.

A graduate of Queen’s University in zoology, he spent the bulk of his teaching career at Markethill High, having begun it at Dungannon Royal and having spent six years in Kenya.

Lew Huddleston was a member of a well-known Markethill family, his parents being Nelson and Cissie Huddleston, proprietors of the local newsagents, later taken over by Ronnie, who died about 10 years ago. Lew is survived by his wife Phyllis, daughter Jill, sister Margaret Huddleson and brother-in-law Roy, sister June Haire and brother-in-law Rodney and sister-in-law Andrea.

He was educated at Markethill Primary School, Newry Grammar and Queen’s University, and his first post was teaching biology at Dungannon Royal, after which he and a number of friends decided to move to Nairobi in Kenya where he taught for six years in a boys’ school - they drove there in a van and he spent happy, productive years there.

After he returned to Markethill, Lew and Phyllis married in December 1981, set up home initially in Loughgall, then Markethill and moved to their present address at Gamblestown Park, Donacloney, in the late 1980s.

As well as his family and career, Mr Huddleston loved sport. With Newry Grammar being primarily a hockey school, he took up the game in the Frontier town, played for a number of seasons with Banbridge, during which he gained Ulster honours. He was a flying winger and also loved football.

He was on the books at Shamrock Park for a couple of season, his hallmark being his speed. His team mates included Jimmy Walker, Harry Robinson, Davy Henderson and Gerry Burrell. He also played a season for Linfield where Tommy Leishman was in charge - the dates were the mid-1960s.

Mr Huddleston also played for a number of junior clubs - at Summer League and Mid-Ulster level - simply for the love of the game, and enjoyed the occasional round of golf with Ronnie and friends, having a natural ‘eye’ for ball games.

He continued to teach at Markethill until 18 years ago when he retired through ill-health - he underwent a triple heart by-pass operation, and his heart condition finally claimed his life on Thursday of last week.

The funeral service was held in the premises of Bell’s Funeral Directors in Banbridge on Wednesday past, conducted by the Rev Brian Martin, Rector of St Patrick’s Church of Ireland, Donacloney. Cremation was at Roselawn in Belfast.